Apple is shrugging off competition in the music player market, continuing to gain marketshare, despite increasingly credible alternative devices.

The company's iPod product range continues to consolidate its predominance in the market, with market research firm the NPD Group reporting it now holds 82 per cent of the US retail market for digital msuic players, according to Bloomberg.

The 82 per cent figure accounts for the 12 months ending in August, 2004, and is up from 64 per cent a year ago and 33 per cent the year before that.

In other words, Apple now holds 82 per cent of a market that analysts at IDC predict will be worth $58 billion by 2008 (globally).

Market researchers at Digital Tech Consulting add that Apple now commands over 75 per cent of the online download market. $1 billion value of digital music will be sold in Europe in 2009, according to Jupiter Research.

Apple will announce its fourth quarter and final year 2004 financial results after markets close tomorrow. Analysts are optimistic that its results will exceed previously-stated earnings targets.